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Training and Support

Learn more about the training and support work of the National Board.

Training and Support

The Training and Support Strategy (2019-2022) which you can access here outlines the objectives for training and support over this three year period. This page highlights the work based on these key areas:

Building competence and skills at a local level

The National Board provide training locally in Church bodies who require specific support for particular roles in the safeguarding structure. Please contact the Director of Training and Support to discuss your particular needs to explore how the National Board can support you.

Training and Supporting Trainers

A key aspect of ensuring the creation and maintenance of safe environments for children and the adults that work with them, is to deliver the message of child safeguarding and the structures within the Church in a relevant and appropriate way, to relevant Church personnel across Ireland. To do this, a one Church approach has been developed through the creation of a national basic awareness training programme, which is facilitated locally by trainers who are registered by the National Board.

This includes the development and ongoing evaluation of the training manual and assessment and reassessment of trainers themselves.

You can read more about the assessment process here.

You can read more about the role of tutors here.

Supporting Individual Church bodies

At the request of the Church authority, the National Board can offer intensive support to help develop a plan of action to ensure that all ministries are carried out in accordance with the child safeguarding standards. This approach empowers local Church personnel, and provides the support in a way which is relevant to the ethos and experience of each individual Church body.

Types of support offered includes:

  • Training on structuring of case files

  • Developing a plan of action for those who are new to Ireland and ministering with children

  • Supporting the work of child safeguarding in specific contexts

If you require support please contact the Director of Training and Support

National Training

The National Board provides regular training for Church personnel across all roles within the child safeguarding structure. To view upcoming events follow this link.

National Safeguarding Formation Programme (Head to Heart)

The programme that the National Board facilitates in relation to formation is called ‘Head to Heart: Child Safeguarding in Formation’. The aim of this programme is to provide participants with a deeper understanding of the core elements of child safeguarding, which the National Board believe will assist in the development of priests who are more aware of and more responsive to safeguarding matters. The training is designed to be reflective and to facilitate open dialogue about difficult historical and current challenges of ministry with children.

Over the course of their formation seminarians will complete ten modules exploring various areas of child safeguarding.  Each module includes reflective exercises before and after a formal input by an expert in the relevant area. Over time this forms a learning journal which each seminarian retains as part of their ongoing ministry.

You can read more about the course and the modules contained within it in the course overview here

It is hoped that over the coming years the Head to Heart programme will be expanded to other aspects of formation including the permanent diaconate programme.

Supporting Child Safeguarding Internationally

A growing area of work for the National Board is supporting the work of child safeguarding on an

international level. Whilst the remit of the National Board is specifically for the island of Ireland, our support work has increasingly included an international element to it, to share our practice to assist other bodies across the world. We do this in the following ways:

1. Supporting Irish missionary orders who operate internationally the National Board provides training for Irish missionary orders who operate overseas, to assist them in embedding good child safeguarding from Ireland in the countries in which they minister. This training is accompanied by guidance and templates based on the safeguarding standards of Ireland.

2. Sharing resources and experience with Church and state bodies on an international level the National Board shares the guidance, and material it produces with other Church and state bodies, nationally and internationally. If requested by other Church bodies internationally the National Board will provide guidance and support as appropriate.

3. Facilitating training for visiting clerics, religious and members of Church personnel.   The National Board facilitates formation training at Loreto House as part of their ongoing formation programme for students from across the world, in addition the National Board will if requested by another Church body endeavour to facilitate visits from other Church personnel to enable them to learn from the experience of child safeguarding in Ireland.

Developing Policy, Guidance and Resources

To ensure the policy and seven child safeguarding standards are embedded across the Church the National Board provides resources to underpin support and training. You can read and view the latest guidance for child safeguarding here.


Supporting Best Practice

The National Board has developed a range of mechanisms to ensure that it is informed by best practice and that it can share this experience amongst constituent members Including:

1. Interagency Initiatives

2. Development of GAP and Briefing papers.   To highlight best practice based on current research the National Board develops a range of Guidance Advice and Practice papers (GAP) to assist Church bodies in taking appropriate child safeguarding action.

You can read these papers here

3. Ecclesiastical Provincial Area Meetings

Following an independent review of the National Board it was recommended that the office facilitates regional meetings of relevant representatives of the Church to assist with communicating the Church’s child safeguarding message. Facilitating meetings of relevant Church personnel on a regular basis throughout the four ecclesiastical provinces (Armagh, Dublin, Cashel and Emly, and Tuam) will ensure that members of Church personnel understand and can contribute to the work of safeguarding on a national basis. To see the latest dates for upcoming ecclesiastical provincial area meetings click here.


Safeguarding Children

National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland
New House, Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co.Kildare
01 505 3124
01 505 3026

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